Can the Ten Commandments protect your kids from the culture war?
August 27, 2008 · Updated 8:49 PM
by Cindy Bond
If you are a parent or grandparent concerned about societys moral and civil decline and its affects on your children/grandchildren, here is a novel idea. Teach them the Ten Commandments.
The laws handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai have been the very foundation on which every civilized society has flourished with and declined without. Learning and understanding the Ten Commandments is one of the most basic and effective ways to inoculate our youth from societys destructive forces that shape and mold the thoughts and attitudes of our children.
And each Commandment serves to protect our kids in a specific way.
Thou Shalt Have No gods before Me does not only mean not worshipping pagan gods, but other false idols, such as greed or fame. A recent USA Today survey of 18-25 year olds found that 81 percent of those surveyed listed get rich as their top goal in life, while 51 percent ranked be famous as their top goal. Help people and Become a leader in the community only came in at 30 percent and 22 percent respectively.
No matter what religion we belong to, acknowledging a power higher than ourselves which we do not acquire, but serve, begets a sense of humility and scorns narcissism.
Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain teaches reverence, but also respect and decorum. More than 70 percent of Americans believe we are a ruder and less civil society than 20 years ago, and nearly eight in 10 Americans report a rise in profanity. Using profanity or G--D--- in front of every noun is not only offensive, it projects ignorance and lack of education, regardless of the background of the offender.
Remember the Sabbath requires commitment, but also instills a sense of community and belonging, imperative to our youth. An Ellison Research study found that 66 percent of Americans believed attending church before the age of 18 contributed to their moral foundation. Two-thirds of Americans who attend church on a regular basis are very happy or very satisfied with their life, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Honor Thy Father and Mother. A recent study suggested that children born post 1982 are the most narcissitic generation in history. Children who are not taught respect for authority, limits and boundaries are not enhancing their self-esteem. According to the study, narcissists are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty and over-controlling and violent behaviors.
Thou Shalt Not Kill cries out in our society today. Violence on television and in movies and video games has desensitized our children to the far-reaching ramifications that taking a life has on families and society. School shootings are on the rise. The Northern Illinois University shooting this month marked the fifth school shooting that week alone. Respect for life is being replaced by a take em down with you attitude.
Thou Shalt Not Steal. The concept of stealing has become muddled among our youth. In the digital age, only 11 percent of teens have a clear understanding of copyright law regarding downloading media. While 90 percent believe stealing a bike should be punished, only 48 percent believe the same fate should rest on those for downloading intellectual property, according to a recent Microsoft study. Other forms of stealing are also on the rise. According to Junior Achievement, 40 percent of students have admitted to cheating and 58 percent of teachers surveyed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers believe plagiarism is a problem.
Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor. Cyber-bullying has reached epidemic status among teens, where numerous internet sites allow anonymous users to post slanderous material without any consequences. One in three teens has been a victim of cyber-bullying according to the Opinion Research Corporation for Fight Crime and the consequences have been heart-wrenching. The case of Megan Meier drew national attention when it was reported that a ruse on MySpace by her friend and her friends mother led Megan to commit suicide.
Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. Our children see case after case of infidelity among our elected leaders and celebrities in the media, but the effects of infidelity go unreported. While it is often glamorized, as in the case of the Jolie/Pitt/Aniston love triangle, adultery tears families apart, leaving the children in the dust. Study after study shows that children raised without both a mother and father are more likely to live in poverty, become addicted to drugs, engage in premarital sex, suffer from depression and commit suicide.
Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors Wife. Since the dawn of the internet, pornography has exploded. According to a University of New Hampshire Study, 42 percent of children ages 10-17 were exposed to on-line pornography, with 66 percent of those not seeking the pornographic sites. According to the National Coalition for Protection of Children and Families, Young people growing up in our already overly sexualized culture are being exposed to sexually explicit material on a daily basis through network television, movies, music and the Internet. Children are being subjected to sexual material and messages before they are mentally prepared to understand or evaluate what they are viewing. In addition, the majority of sex education is taking place in the media, not in the home, church or school.
Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors Goods. It is no longer about keeping up with the Joneses, it is about surpassing them. Instant gratification today is as easy as plastic. JumpStart Coalition for Personal Finance Literacy found that one-third of high school seniors use a credit card. According to Nellie Mae, the average freshman arrives at college with $1,585 in credit card debt. The material world has forced even our youngest to already mortgage their future.
The Ten Commandments are as vital today as they were when Moses received them on the mount. They have been the cornerstone for civility, order and justice. Choosing not to teach these to our children will not only unleash the cultural demons against them, it will contribute to our cultural demise as a society. Raising our children without a spiritual foundation lends an attitude that there is no consequence to ones actions unless he/she gets caught. And by then it will be too late.
Cindy Bond, President and COO of Promenade Pictures, Los Angeles, California